Iterate Imperfection

My wife has had the same website I built for her dance business in 2005. In that time we’ve had countless attempts at redeveloping it, normally starting with opening Photoshop, or setting up an account on the latest CMS service. These attempts all ended up half completed.

Running off the high of an event on Saturday night, we sat down on Sunday to prepare for the next show. Rather than the usual hacky updates, I decided to do improve things a little. Not a full rebuild, not perfect - but good enough.

3 hours later I had not only made the content changes but also improved the layout and made developing it much easier.

 Before

  • Table-based layout
  • Updated via Dreamweaver / SFTP
  • Broken layout

 After

  • Pure CSS-based layout
  • Source control on Bitbucket
  • Deployed via Capistrano
  • Refreshed design
  • Google analytics

Things I didn’t do

  • Replace the PHP header/footer templating with something more modern
  • Convert to CSS framework
  • Significant redesign
  • Fix all HTML/CSS/content issues

The changes aren’t earth-shattering but they’re a actually a big step forward from what was there before. Improving the development workflow has also meant I can make regular updates much more easily.

I find that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a large task but often, I’ve added a lot of cruft to the task list that just isn’t needed. This time I focused on a few important changes and I’m really happy with the results so far - what’s more, so is my wife :)